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Reviewers: Don Mather, Dick Stafford, Marc Bridle, John Eyles, Ian Lace, Colin Clarke, Jack Ashby


'Louis Armstrong - sings and swings'

RCA Bluebird 09026 63965 2



1. I've Got The World On A String (Louis Armstrong and His Orchestra, 1933)
2. Mahogany Hall Stomp (Louis Armstrong and His Orchestra, 1933)
3. Endie (Louis Armstrong and His Orchestra, 1946)
4. Pennies From Heaven (Louis Armstrong and His All Stars, 1947)
5. Mighty River (Louis Armstrong and His Orchestra, 1933)
6. I Want a Little Girl (Louis Armstrong and His Hot Seven)
7. Snafu (Esquire All-American 1946 Award Winners, 1946)
8. He's A Son of The South (Louis Armstrong and His Orchestra, 1933)
9. Ain't Misbehavin' (Louis Armstrong and His Orchestra, 1947)
10. The Blues Are Brewin' (Louis Armstrong and His Orchestra, 1933)
11. Sugar (Louis Armstrong and His Hot Seven, 1946)
12. That's My Home (Louis Armstrong and His Orchestra, 1932)
13. Save It, Pretty Mama (Louis Armstrong and His All Stars, 1947)
14. Laughin' Louie (Louis Armstrong and His Orchestra, 1933)
15. Fifty-Fifty Blues (Louis Armstrong and His All Stars, 1947)

The tracks on this compilation, covering the period 1932- 46, were selected by Ruby Braff, trumpeter and Armstrong devotee. After the days of the Hot Five and Hot Seven were over Louis Armstrong, the greatest jazz trumpeter ever, played mainly with 'orchestras' - some being led by him. However, he did not completely abandon smaller groups as can be heard here on such tunes as 'I Want A Little Girl' and 'Sugar.' At this time Louis was still in his prime but sadly none of his great recordings with the Louis Russell Orchestra from 1935 on are features here.

Both Armstrong's playing and singing have always shown rare individuality and although many have tried to copy both, no one has managed it with any convincing success. Generally this CD makes good listening and many star soloists appear with one band or the other. Preferring the earlier tracks I particularly enjoyed Mahogany Hall Stomp. The difference between this track and the band featured on 'Endie' is quite amazing even for a gap of thirteen years. 'I Want A Little Girl' is another fine track and 'Snafu' lives up to expectations and solos by Louis, Billy Strayhorn, Johnny Hodges and Don Byas certainly show why they were elected winners.

I feel the Armstrong aficionado would be hard pressed to buy this CD but for someone who just wants 'some Armstrong' for their collection then this is for them.

Jack Ashby


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